Ford’s F-150 Lightning Might Be the Most Important EV Yet

Every EV truck until now has kind of felt like an experiment. I mean that if brands like Rivian, Tesla, and HUMMER don’t make it, the average American might not notice (sorry not sorry). 

The same cannot be said about the Ford F-150, the best-selling vehicle  in the U.S. If the F-150 EV flops, people will notice. That’s why it’s so important that Ford get it right.

Well, has it? Let’s take a look.

Dubbed the “Lightning,” a nameplate borrowed from previous F-150 performance models, the first-ever all-electric F-150 is powered by two electric motors that put out a combined 563 horsepower and 775 foot-pounds of torque.

This is good for a 0 to 60 miles-per-hour run in the mid-4.0-seconds range — not bad for a full-size truck. In fact, that’s quicker than the Raptor. And, despite having independent suspension front and rear, it can tow up to 10,000 pounds thanks to its all-new frame, which is made from the strongest steel ever used on an F-150 frame.

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Ford hopes for a 230-mile range on the standard Lightning model and 300 miles from the extended-range trim. Although those aren’t quite the numbers the 350-mile HUMMER EV Pickup puts out, there’s good chance the Lightning will be more affordable. But more on that later.

Though low on initial range, Ford has made the Lightning easy to charge. It includes an 80-amp charging station that holds enough power to supply about 30 miles of range to the Lightning. Or it can charge the truck from 15% to 100% in eight hours.


Pull up to a DC fast charger and 54 miles of range can be zapped into the battery packs in just 10 minutes. Spend a bit more time on that same charger, 40 minutes to be exact, and you’ll be able to go from 15% to 80% charge. And the Lightning can be used as a power generator, too. It puts out up to 9.4 kiloWatts across 11 outlets. What’s more, Ford claims the Lightning can power “your house” for up to three days.

As for hauling, the Lightning is more than just a straight-line accelerator. It has a 2,000-pound payload capacity and a 400-liter front trunk or “frunk.”

Don’t worry about whether your payload will ruin your driving range. The new Ford SYNC 4 system displayed on the interior 15.5-inch touchscreen will help you determine — with a program called Onboard Scales — just how your gear load will affect your range, a feature that overlanders will surely relish.

Further tech goodies include BlueCruise, which is Ford’s Level 2 autonomous driving system. Ford boasts it will be capable of hands-free driving on more than 100,000 miles of highway in the U.S. and Canada. If true, BlueCruise will make long overland trips more leisurely — at least on the highway portions. Perhaps most impressively, Ford priced the Lightning just below $40,000.


Will it be good for overlanding? That’s hard to say. It seems that Ford has put in enough safety measures to ensure that getting places, and keeping the Lightning charged, as easy as possible. Plus, it’s a 4×4, with electric motors mounted inside the axles. And it includes different drive modes, like Off-Road. So that tells us straight away that it will be able to handle at least some tough terrain.

Now comes the interesting bit: Watching to see if the Lightning is a flash in the pan or a long-term success. In order for the environment and Ford to survive, the Lightning will need to be a home run. That’s both because of the industry-wide, now-inevitable transition from internal combustion to battery electric vehicles and American’s adoption of the alternative propulsion technology.

Yeah, the F-150 is a best-seller. But that’s because of its V8s and twin-turbo V6 engines. Will truck-loving Americans embrace the Lightning? Time will tell.

Header image: Ford Motor Company

Photo by Brett Willhelm


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